Chartwells discusses food service with students

Alex Palmieri – News Writer

Chartwells wanted student input on how the food service at Southern can be improved and what actions can possibly be taken.

Juan Dominguez, resident district manager of Chartwells Residential Dining, said he tries to react as quickly and efficiently as he can after he hears what students have to say. He said the main reason of the meeting is to get feedback from students so they can make the necessary changes to make students satisfied.

“I would say that many changes that we make,” said Dominguez, “they come from this meeting, they come from the students.”

One of the biggest issues that Dominguez spoke about was Dunkin Donuts. He said they need to try to find ways to minimize the time that students spend in the lines there. This was one of the things Dominguez said he will make a top priority.

“Time is an issue for anybody that has the activities that college students have,” said Dominguez.

Another thing Dominguez said the meeting helps doing is to balance what they hear from the students. He gave scenarios saying students may say there may be too much fried food, but others may say there is not enough. He added there is a big population of students attempting to get what they want.

“Different people have different tastes, different preferences,” said Dominguez. “So we need to balance these opinions and figure out to meet halfway.”

Alexandra Morgan Macauda, new marketing manager for Chartwells, said she likes the student ideas and input. She said with the students giving feedback, it helps Chartwells generate new ideas.

“We’re at the dining halls and facilities every single day,” said Macauda. “So we don’t see the issues that other students might be seeing. It’s like a new set of fresh eyes of what’s going wrong and what’s not working.”

Chartwells produced “text to solve” which is what students text if they need something. Macauda said the names are anonymous. If a student needs anything from gluten-free wraps to other things, they can use the “text to solve” to get what they need.

“I get the messages sent to my phone,” said Macauda. “But again they’re anonymous.”

The meetings, Macauda said, allow her to talk face-to-face with the students without any limitations that social media or texting may provide with number of characters. She said these meetings are important to improve Chartwells in any aspect they need to be improved on.

She added the only way for students to add more input is if it gets marketed better so there is more awareness about these meetings.

“We’re hosting focus groups next week,” said Macauda. “They’re called “on-sight insights” but we only have five students signed up right now. We need 100 students; it’s catered with free food. It’s money and effort on our part but it’s something we see of value.”

Stefany Mitchell, junior interdisciplinary studies major, is the co-chair of Food Service Advisory Committee. She said a lot of changes students would like to see are in Conn Hall. She said the options and variety of food has always had its issues.

Though this is the case, she said the meeting was successful overall and she is excited to see what changes will be made in the near future.

“I definitely think Conn Hall has improved since I’ve been here,” said Mitchell. “They’ve been doing great things.”

Photo Credit: Alex Palmieri

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